The lawsuit filed by Mission Abstract Media over automation technology is moving forward despite the contention of some in the radio industry that automation systems already were well established in the market when the first automation patent was applied for in 1994 and issued in 1997.
In Radio World’s story exploring the suit this week, Ron Paley, a radio automation industry veteran, said he has evidence that will prove the technology described in Mission Abstract Data’s patents existed well before the first patent application was filed in 1994.
Paley said MediaTouch commissioned his former company, Oakwood Audio Labs Ltd., to develop a networked music system in 1991.
“By the spring of 1993 we had built and tested the first super duopoly music system and then installed it that summer for Okanagan Skeena Radio Group in British Columbia, Canada,” Paley said. The MediaDisk system contained 5,000 songs on twin redundant servers and serviced four networked radio stations, Paley said.
“The largest hard drive we could find at the time was 2 GB. We had 10 [hard drives] in each server for 20 GB storage. We used a Novell network with SFT3 for transparent redundancy,” Paley said.
Several automation vendors told Radio World they believe the suit is not valid.
“We believe there is significant art that would invalidate this claim,” said Don Backus, general manager and vice president of sales and marketing for ENCO. “ENCO is cooperating with our affected clients and other automation vendors.”
— Randy J. Stine